Queen’s Birthday honours for QFES leaders shaping disaster capability

15 June 2021

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Chief Superintendents Brad Commens and Tony Johnstone have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to disaster response on this year’s Queens Birthday Honours List.

Mr Commens has been awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) for his leadership and commitment to enhancing QFES’ reputation and operational capability while Mr Johnstone received his for his leadership, policy work and command and coordination during times of disaster.

Fire and Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan congratulated Mr Commens and Mr Johnstone on their achievements and efforts to improve disaster operations.

“Receiving an AFSM is an extremely high honour, and I congratulate Brad and Tony on this outstanding achievement,” Mr Ryan said.

“Brad has been instrumental in developing Queensland’s international response capability which has seen him lead advancements in standards for rescue team accreditation and coordination for the United Nations.

“Queensland is recognised around the world for its work in disaster response and Brad’s leadership and commitment to improving global standards is one of the reasons why QFES is held in such high regard.”

Mr Ryan said Mr Johnstone had played an integral role for the RFS in Queensland and as a leader during Queensland’s natural disasters.

“Tony’s leadership has shone as the Commander of State Operations during disasters ranging from bushfires to floods and cyclones and can only be described as exceptional in his service to the community,” he said.

“In addition to Tony’s work during disaster operations, he has also been instrumental in shaping key fire and disaster management policies and helped improve QFES’ service delivery.

“I thank Brad and Tony for their service to Queensland.”

QFES Commissioner Greg Leach said their commitment to their roles and communities was to be commended.

“Queensland has seen its fair share of storms, cyclones and fires and Brad’s experience as the head of QFES’ Specialist and Technical Response Branch has helped to ensure Queenslanders remain safe during tough times,” Mr Leach said.

“Tony’s experience in the design and implementation of strategic policies for the RFS across the state has been vital and he always goes above and beyond what is required to ensure the best outcome for staff, volunteers and the public.

“Both men have shown exemplary leadership within QFES and they continue to strive to enhance operational capability and the safety of first responders.

“Since joining QFES, Brad in 1989 and Tony in 2003, they have worked tirelessly to develop and maintain QFES’ high standards and this award is a testament to that hard work.”